How to monetise World Cup football

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By Paul Davies, Marketing & Communications, Yospace

This month sees the kick-off of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in what promises to be the highest-profile edition of the tournament yet.  It will also see the finals of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, so we’re set for an eventful summer of high profile football that will garner significant monetisation opportunities for rights-holders worldwide.

I’ve picked three matches from the 2018 FIFA World Cup to illustrate some of the challenges to consider when looking to monetise major tournament football using server-side ad insertion (SSAI).  These examples highlight the need to implement the most reliable ad-tech and the most dynamic, too, in order to maximise the significant addressable revenue opportunities.

South Korea 2-0 Germany

The German team was the holder of the trophy going into the tournament and as such was among the most streamed during the World Cup based on data from Akamai, driving an average of 18.18Tbps average peak traffic during its matches.  Yet the team’s fate took an unexpected turn in the group stages, when the four-time champions were unexpectedly knocked out.

An earlier loss to Mexico suddenly heaped pressure on the German team for their final group match against South Korea match: 90 minutes which was previously expected to be insignificant, ended up drawing huge global interest.  In fact, this match – plus Mexico v Sweden, which took place at the same time – drove Akamai’s biggest traffic of the entire tournament.

This presented an opportunity for advertisers that would not have been planned before the tournament began, with a great many more viewers tuned in, engaged, and on the edge of their seats throughout.  Pressure wouldn’t just have been on Germany, but on broadcasters’ ad servers (ADS) which would have had to cope with an unpredicted swell in traffic.

Many ADS’s will have slowed at this point.  Adopting SSAI architecture with prefetch is the only way of monetising a broadcast-grade user experience at scale.

Croatia 1-1 Denmark

A match top-and-tailed with drama, this quarter-final game highlighted the need for an SSAI platform that is not only capable of delivering at scale, but is capable of doing so rapidly, and with very little fore-warning.

Two early goals in the match’s opening were followed by a slow 120 minutes, during which time many neutral viewers switched off due to the lack of action. Then, penalties – a situation that fans with a vested interest dread but a neutral supporter loves.  Whichever side you’re on, a penalty shoot-out is highly engaging for all viewers. Rights-holders had reason to cheer, too, with an unscheduled and lucrative ad break falling just before the most viewed moment of the match.

Unlike VoD, highly valuable ad breaks occur at exactly the same time for millions of viewers, requiring simultaneous ad calls to the ADS within a matter of seconds.  An SSAI platform must therefore support fluctuations in demand, and rapid, unpredictable variations in the number of concurrent streamers.

Brazil 1-2 Belgium

This quarter-final match between two of the tournament’s favourites featured global superstars including Neymar for Brazil and de Bruyne and Hazard for Belgium.  At half time the Belgians were leading 2-0, which prompted a greater surge in interest at the prospect of a goal-laden second half as the Brazilians mounted their fight back.

And the popularity of streaming wasn’t restricted to football’s traditional heartlands; Brazil vs Belgium was the most streamed event ever for America’s Fox Sports.

This was also a testing point for ad technology, with SSAI platforms tasked with the complex feat of making millions of simultaneous ad calls across the world, all with addressability enabled.  The ad break which fell just before play resumed in the second half may well have been the most valuable across the entire tournament, so advertisers and broadcasters had a lot to gain – and a lot to lose if their ad tech wasn’t able to respond as planned.

In this type of scenario a robust pre-fetch system is critical.  Yospace’s SSAI platform integrates with the broadcast automation systems – which hold all the information on programme and ad break timings – in order to look ahead to determine the length of the next ad break.  This allows it to pace calls to the ad server (ADS) over a prolonged period of time, which a) prevents the ADS being overloaded with simultaneous requests, and b) ensures the highest fill rates by allowing the ADS adequate time to respond.

With the right technology in place, broadcasters can realise the full value of live streaming while delivering consistent quality for the viewer, making sure that everyone is a winner.

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Delivering a world-class World Cup experience

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The World Cup kicks off this week: cue blanket media coverage and scores of football puns. We’ll of course be following the tournament’s progress, but will be keeping an even closer eye on how the world streams – and how broadcasters monetise – live content.

Our server-side DAI technology is being used by multiple broadcasters across four continents to monetise the 2018 World Cup, with every viewer worldwide delivered a one-to-one addressable live stream.

Major live events have driven huge innovation in the live OTT arena, particularly in monetisation and scale.  Yospace has developed an advanced system to pace ad requests, called pre-fetch, which lessens the load on ad servers during those moments when all viewers go to an ad break simultaneously – an innovation which earned Yospace a Sports Technology Award recently with BT Sport.

When it comes to monetisation of live events, scale is of course becoming increasingly important.  In 2016, a record 2.3 million people live-streamed England’s Euro 2016 win over Wales, via the BBC Sport website; more than doubling the channel’s previous audience number. This figure contributed to (another) record-breaking 14.6 million unique visitors who live-streamed Euro content on the site on a single day.  It is widely expected that these figures will be eclipsed during the World Cup.

In fact, we expect live streaming records to be broken this Summer by all host broadcasters in the UK: BBC, ITV and STV.  The latter two monetise their streams using Yospace’s server-side DAI.

On a global scale, a brief glance at Akamai’s figures are further proof of the increasing popularity of live sports streaming amongst fans: from the maximum peak traffic of 1.4Tbs generated by 2012’s Superbowl, which leaps to peak traffic of 6.9Tbp for 2014’s football World Cup.

Earlier this year Akamai set a global streaming record of 10.3 million concurrent viewers for a VIVO Indian Premier League match – another record that could well be broken in the next few weeks.  Yospace expect to break concurrency records for personalised SSAI, too.

While scale will no doubt be the focus of industry headlines, the sub-plot of the story is viewer experience and reliability.  Advertisements must be seamlessly integrated into a live stream to ensure a true TV-quality experience for millions of football fans, and – for broadcasters monetising content and advertisers relying on its success – form a frictionless component of the end-to-end delivery mechanism for live sports streaming.

Football – as with most sports – is unpredictable.  Whilst this delivers edge-of-your-seat viewing experiences to fans, these nervous moments must be the result of the outcome of the match, not the outcome of a poor viewing experience.

We’ll steer clear of predicting the winners and losers amongst this year’s World Cup qualifying teams, but one thing Yospace can reliably predict is the quality of end-user experience for many of the millions of viewers who’ll be going OTT in the coming weeks. And in turn, scoring wins for advertisers and broadcasters alike.

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Yospace delivers big audiences for dynamic advertisement replacement

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Reliability at scale transforms OTT into a true broadcast experience.

Staines-upon-Thames, 20 July 2015 – Yospace, the leading name in dynamic advertisement replacement, is using its presence at IBC2015 to demonstrate tailored advertising, catered for the individual, in live streams.  It will use real-world examples in recent events such as the XXII Olympic Winter Games, 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 Copa América to demonstrate its success.

Yospace’s solution conducts the advertisement replacement server-side.  To the consumer the stream is uninterrupted, but it contains advertising tailored to the group or to the individual. By making the replacements seamless and transparent the consumer perceives a broadcast quality service, but with advertising of such relevance that they stay with the stream.

Deployments of the technology with broadcasters have shown view-through rates for dynamic advertising replacement of up to 98.7%. With the ability to incorporate interactive functions in the online advertising, such as clickable overlays, engagement is driven even further.

“What we want to emphasise with our visitors at IBC2015 is that this is not something of the future but driving significant increases in ad revenues for our customer base today” said Tim Sewell, CEO, Yospace. “Our technology is driving huge advertising views for online channels, and scales to meet the demand of very large concurrent audiences associated with must-see events.

“Our technology is robust, scalable and proven in the most demanding live environments,” he added. “Broadcasters and online content providers can maximise their revenues through tailored, dynamic ad insertion, making more services financially viable and building better audience relations.”

Yospace’s server-side insertion technology is equally well suited to post-live and on demand services. It interfaces with campaign management tools each time a programme is subsequently viewed to tailor advertisements to the region, the group and/or the individual if required.

STV Launches Live Streaming with Real-Time Ad Replacement

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STV, Scotland’s leading digital company and commercial broadcaster, has launched STV Watch Live, a new live streaming service with dynamic real time ad replacement on the STV Player.

STV Watch Live allows users in STV’s licence areas in Scotland to watch STV programmes live online, including top entertainment shows, comprehensive news and current affairs, and matches from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

STV Watch Live is available online via STV Player and on iOS and Android mobile and tablet device.  STV Glasgow, STV’s new city TV channel, is also streamed live.

In a UK first, STV is working with Yospace, The Dynamic Ad Insertion Company (DAI), and leading global video ad serving and management specialist Videoplaza to deliver dynamic ad replacement and ad targeting across live streaming content.

Yospace’s seamless content replacement solution allows STV to manage its ad inventory during live streams and monetise these across a wide range of platforms through more effective ad targeting.

Alistair Brown, Chief Technology and Platforms Officer at STV, said: “We were delighted to launch live streaming on the STV Player in time for viewers to watch this summer’s World Cup.  STV always strives to offer content that is truly multi-platform, allowing consumers to watch their favourite STV programmes free of charge, anytime and anywhere they choose.

“With Videoplaza’s technology we can efficiently manage our video ad inventory across all our STV Player platforms, and working with Yospace means we can now extend this relationship to live streaming.”

Tim Sewell, Chief Executive Officer at Yospace, said: “The ability for broadcasters like STV to effectively monetise live streams across multiple platforms, whilst ensuring delivery of a true broadcast quality user experience, is key to the commercial success of simulcast. This is clearly never more true than during major events like the FIFA World Cup, and we’re delighted to be powering STV Live.”

“We’re very excited to play a part in enabling STV to deliver real time digital ad replacement within their live streams”, said Stephen Byrne, Commercial Director UK for Videoplaza. “We think digital ad replacement is a huge opportunity for broadcasters to provide their audiences with free access to exclusive content whilst simultaneously unlocking additional video advertising revenues, and STV has achieved another UK first with this initiative.”

– Ends –

For further information, please contact the STV press office:

Eleanor Marshall
0141 300 3670 / 07803 970 143
eleanor.marshall@stv.tv

Anna Hendry
0141 300 3830 / 07921 494 654
anna.hendry@stv.tv

Notes to Editors

About STV

STV reaches 3.6 million viewers each month with first class programming including soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street, big drama productions, entertainment hits The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, strong home-grown productions and the most comprehensive local news service in the UK.

STV Productions is one of the UK’s leading content businesses, with ambitious plans for growth and expansion in the UK and overseas. The company has a record of success across a range of genres including drama, factual and entertainment, producing a wide range of programmes for a variety of networks, including Catchphrase and Fake Reaction for ITV and ITV2, ratings success Antiques Road Trip for BBC One and quiz show The Lie for STV and TV3. Upcoming productions include new entertainment show Let me Entertain You for ITV and quiz show The Link for BBC One.

STV’s digital business incorporates Scotland’s most popular commercial media website, stv.tv, home to the STV Player and comprehensive news, sport and entertainment services.

STV recently launched new digital services providing all the latest news, events, offers, pictures and videos for consumers in Scotland’s biggest cities. STV Glasgow, STV Edinburgh, STV Aberdeen and STV Dundee are available as apps, free to download and use on iOS and Android devices, and accompanied by desktop and mobile sites.

STV has secured two licences to deliver brand new city-focused TV for Glasgow and Edinburgh. STV Glasgow will launch in June 2014 with STV Edinburgh to follow.

STV content is available across multi platforms including iOS, Android, PS3, Windows 8; YouView and Samsung Smart TV.